People who live in cities are used to the company of furry vermin. But a new study reveals that mice and men may be sharing much more than just living quarters. In a study published in the journal mBio, researchers led by Dr. Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, studied the gut microbes of 416 mice collected from mostly residential buildings all over New York City.
Lipkin and his team did a thorough genetic analysis of the microbes they extracted from the feces of the mice, and found that they contained a number of disease-causing bacteria. Nearly 40% of the mice carried at least one potentially disease-causing bacterium, including C. difficile, Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, Klebsiella pneumonia, Clostridium perfringens and Leptospira. (One mouse carried five of the bacteria.) The disease-carrying mice lived in higher income and lower income neighborhoods in similar concentrations. READ MORE